One of the most respected journalists in the United States and the bestselling author of The Future Church uses his unparalleled knowledge of world affairs and religious insight to investigate the troubling worldwide persecution of Christians.
From Iraq and Egypt to Sudan and Nigeria, from Indonesia to the Indian subcontinent, Christians in the early 21st century are the world’s most persecuted religious group. According to the secular International Society for Human Rights, 80 percent of violations of religious freedom in the world today are directed against Christians. In effect, our era is witnessing the rise of a new generation of martyrs. Underlying the global war on Christians is the demographic reality that more than two-thirds of the world’s 2.3 billion Christians now live outside the West, often as a beleaguered minority up against a hostile majority– whether it’s Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, Hindu radicalism in India, or state-imposed atheism in China and North Korea. In Europe and North America, Christians face political and legal challenges to religious freedom. Allen exposes the deadly threats and offers investigative insight into what is and can be done to stop these atrocities.
“This book is about the most dramatic religion story of the early 21st century, yet one that most people in the West have little idea is even happening: The global war on Christians,” writes John Allen. “We’re not talking about a metaphorical ’war on religion’ in Europe and the United States, fought on symbolic terrain such as whether it’s okay to erect a nativity set on the courthouse steps, but a rising tide of legal oppression, social harassment and direct physical violence, with Christians as its leading victims. However counter-intuitive it may seem in light of popular stereotypes of Christianity as a powerful and sometimes oppressive social force, Christians today indisputably form the most persecuted religious body on the planet, and too often its new martyrs suffer in silence.”
This book looks to shatter that silence.
“This is a war that can find its victims absolutely anywhere.” (Pg. 186 A Global War on Christians). I think that quote from John L. Allen’s Jr. new book A Global War on Christians just about sums it all up.
There is no doubt Allen is qualified to write a book of this magnitude. His credentials speak for themselves. But to be honest, I wasn’t sure of what to expect when I picked up this book. Maybe I expected to be angered and want to fight the good fight. Maybe I wanted to see if I could really be “woken up.”
Well, I finished this book with all sorts of feelings. Yeah there was anger and sadness. There was also the need to argue a few points. But, I believe more than anything it left me numb. This book was gritty, raw, and real. The first 170 pages are just dedicated to story after story after story of attacks on Christians in different countries. The reasons varied greatly. Not all attacks were just because they were Christians. Sometimes it was just wrong place, wrong time.
The second part of the book deals with 5 myths about the the war on Christians. These myths were well thought out and had many more examples of people who have put their lives on the line for their faith. Then Allen discusses the fallout, consequences and response. My favorite (if you can have a favorite in a book like this)chapter was in the section. The Spiritual Fruits of Global War. One doesn’t often consider Spiritual Fruit can come from war, but I liked how he talked about theological breakthroughs and one of my favorites Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Like I said before, this book will leave you feeling raw and a bit exhausted. There were many a times that I literally stopped where I was reading and prayed for people who are still facing situations like these. I may never see them face to face, but I can pray. This book is no easy or light read. It is to be taken seriously.
On that note I will address my biggest issue with the book. Allen says right up front that he wont provide footnotes or a bibliography. He basically says that one can do an internet search and the information will come up quickly. Yes one can do that, but sometimes it can help one such as myself to have a jumping off point. It wasn’t at all what I expected from a journalist. Although with the way the media is in America nowadays……. I will let you finish that sentence.
I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing in exchange for my honest review.